Christmas Cards – 44 Cents a Smile

Christmas cards have long been a seasonal favorite of mine. However, it seems that years ago numerous people decided that it was too expensive to send out Christmas cards. There were many that thought it was too time consuming and stopped altogether. Then there were those that cherished the cards and would wait for the mail to arrive to run to the mailbox when they arrived home. As they ran they would hope to find a new Christmas Card.

I will not deny it; I get very little pleasure from licking envelopes and searching for snail mail addresses in a world of e-mail laden lives. Yet as e-mail is common among us, we also find self-adhesive stamps, envelopes and return address stickers. You can even plug in your Christmas list into computer and save it year after year so all you do is load the address labels and click print. By the way, these come in self-adhesive sheets as well. Everything can be automated but the signatures – do not cheat and have the computer print your signature. That will be the imprint of your thoughts and wishes. The personal touch should never be pushed aside for a cold computer print out.

For those that feel Christmas cards are too expensive, I have researched the cost. If you take on Wal-Mart or some other retail store – you can find a box of 32 cards for 2.00. Stamps for these 32 cards will cost 11.84. Ink for your printer will cost around .25. This brings the total to $14.09. If you divide this – you will find that it costs you 44 cents to bring a smile to an entire family. Those 44 cents become a cherished item that is hung up on the wall or placed on a table. For that amount of change, you could cause several smiles as people walk by what has now become a Christmas decoration that year in their home. For less than 2 quarters, you have spread loving energy and evoked loving energy from others. Each time someone picks up that card, that person thinks of you kindly. For the mere price of a card and stamp you have blessed others and been blessed your self. Where can you do that today with forty-four cents?

Now comes the ones that say it is too time consuming. It takes you less than 2 minutes to sign, stamp, seal, and address a Christmas card. You can multiply your 2 minutes by 32 cards and come to an hour and four minutes of your time. (I actually have done this task with 60 cards in less than an hour). You spend more time watching 3 commercials on TV that you do addressing a 44 cents Christmas card.

Once we have gotten the boring math out of the way, we can begin to reach into our memories and into our hearts and recall stories of Christmas that made us happy. We do not even have to stay in the distant past but stray into the recent past as well.

As a child, I remember rushing to the mailbox to pull out the Christmas cards. I lived in Kentucky so it promised to be cold if not snowy as I as I reached into the metal box with my heart pounding with excitement. I would pull out the days mail and dig through it quickly looking for an envelope that resembled a Christmas card or to see a return address of a relative or a friend of our families. If by chance that day I found one, I would run as fast as my little legs could take me screaming to my parents that we had a card. Most times, I was allowed to open it and they would pass it around and look at it. No one ever failed to smile.

After the card had passed through the hands of everyone there, we grabbed a roll of tape and taped it along the doorways. It added to the holiday decorations and we would go by and occasional stop and look across our cards again. Each day I would run out to the mailbox and repeat the ritual of Christmas card hunting in a small metal mailbox.

Back then, it wasn’t unusual to receive 100 to 200 cards. (*sighs* - I am beginning to sound old). I remember hearing my mom on the phone talking to aunts and her friends, as they would share with each other how many cards they had received and how many they had sent out. It almost seemed like it showed how much a person was thought of by how many cards they received. In a silly kind of logic, they were right. It told how many people thought you were worth 2 minutes of their time and the cost of a card and a stamp.

Today I am 47 years old and as Christmas approaches, I start to eye the mailbox as does my sons. As the Christmas cards start coming in, their younger legs beat mine to reach into the mailbox and look for Christmas cards. I simply chuckle and tell them I will get it next time. Yet even my children know how happy the cards make me.

I realize there are many who can not afford to send a card and some that can not complete the tasks it takes. These are the people need all the Christmas wishes and help we can give them.

This year as it has been for the last four Christmases here with Steve – we will stand them up on the large handcrafted dining room table that Steve designed and created. When we run out of room there, we will put them around the doorways. As we walk around them each day, we will look at them and sometimes pick them up. As every year since I can remember …… we will smile.

There's no point in being grown up if you can't be childish sometimes.
--Doctor Who

Rhiannon Waits is a syndicated columnist with her column published in 14 different countries and translated into 4 different languages. You can purchase "Little Lessons on Love And Life" at Amazon.comLittle Lessons on Love And Life, book private sessions, schedule speaking engagements, or attend book signings by calling 850-941-4190. You can also visit her web site at Rhia lives in Pensacola Florida with her life partner, Steve, and her children. Rhiannon Waits is a renowned Psychic/Medium.